Cultural calendar, March 11-18, 2004

THURSDAY, March 11

Double Bill: Docent Kay Davidson leads the Virginia Museum of Fine Art's tour of the month, "Goddesses," starting at 2pm. Catch an early dinner and come back to hear UVA's Dr. Dorothy Wong talk about "Emblems of Identity: Buddhist Steles of Sixth Century China" at 8pm. Both events are free. VMFA 2800 Grove Ave., Richmond. 804-204-2704.

Tales for Tots:
The five-and-under crowd can hear Caldecott Award winners like Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are and Jane Yolan's Owl Moon at Barnes & Noble's preschool story time. Stickers and cookies are part of the fun. 10:30am. Free. Barracks Road Shopping Center. 984-6598.

Swing swap:
The Charlottesville Swing Dance Society hosts this weekly Thursday-night swing dancing session, with an hour of east coast swing, an hour of west coast swing, and a DJ taking requests. 7-9pm. Albemarle County Office Building Auditorium, 401 McIntire Road. Free. 980-2744.

Richmond Ballet:
Tonight's full-length program at PVCC features "Concerto Barocco," choreographed by Balanchine, "Echoing Past," choreographed by Stoner Winslett, and "Djangology," choreographed by Val Caniparoli. 7:30pm. $17 adults, $12 seniors, $6 students. V. Earl Dickinson Building, PVCC, 500 College Drive. 961-5203.

Succession Planning: Family owned-business owners can hear Gary Hoffman, a certified financial planner, talk about "Business Succession Planning" at a seminar today sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. 9am-noon. $25. Board Room, Chamber Office, Fifth and Market streets. 295-3144.

Planning Session:
Come discuss selections for the next six months of the newly formed Greene County Friends of the Library Book Discussion Group. 7pm. 222 Main St., Stanardsville. 985-5227.

Extraordinary in Every Way: Enthuse critics of Ray McNiece, man of many arts. McNiece reads from his poetry, sings from his songbook, and generally looks fabulous tonight at Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar on the Downtown Mall. 8:30pm. 293-9947.

The Virginia Company at Blackfriars Playhouse:
Period instruments accompany this program of 17th and 18th-century music. $18, 7:30pm. 540-851-1733.

Mike Marshall & Darol Anger at the Prism: Alumni of the David Grisman Quintet, the pair's acoustic music performances are considered first-rate by lovers of the genre. $22/$18 advance, 8pm.

Jim Waive (country-folk) at the Blue Moon Diner. Free, 8pm (W)

Karaoke Night with DJ Wild Wes at Buffalo Wild Wings. Free, 9pm (W)

Chicken Head Blues Band at Dürty Nelly's. $4, 9pm. (W)

Wishing Chair with Wendy Repass at Gravity Lounge. $5, 8:30pm.

Thompson/ D'earth and friends (freeform jazz) at Miller's. $4, 10pm. (W)

Navel (hard rock) at Outback Lodge. $3, 10pm.

Robert Jospé (jazz) at Rapture. No cover, 7:30pm. (W)

Satisfaction (dance party) at Rapture. No cover, 10:30pm. (W)

Middle Eastern Belly Dance Class at Rapunzel's Coffee & Books. Free, 6:30pm. (W)

Hogwaller Ramblers at Sheben. No cover, 10pm. (W)

FRIDAY, March 12
Storybook Dance:
Young thespians ages two to five can climb on stage at the Virginia Discovery Museum and sing and dance to bring to life the story of Cinderella. Come in costume if you like. 10:30-11:10am and 11:15-11:55. Included in the price of admission. East end of the Downtown Mall. 977-1025.

Behind the Scenes: Dinosaur enthusiasts can get a sneak peek at the new exhibit at the Children's Museum of Richmond and have dinner with its creator, the world-renown "Dino" Don Lessem. 6-10pm. $40 cost includes dinner. Reservations are required, call 804-474-7031. 2626 W. Broad St., Richmond.

Friday Night Live: Charlottesville Recreation and Leisure Services hosts their Spring Lock-In tonight at Crow Recreation Center. Kids ages 10-12 can swim, play basketball and computer games, dance, race, listen to music, and just have fun. Light snacks are provided. 7:30-11pm. Free. 970-3260.

Life between Lives:
Certified hypnotherapist Julia Mills discusses the pioneering work of Dr Michael Newton, author of Journey of Souls and Destiny of Souls. Spirit guides, past lives, karma, and more. Quest Bookstore, 7pm. 295-3377.

The Beauty Queen of Leenane: Four County Players presents Martin McDonagh's award-winning drama of life in the Irish countryside, and offers a traditional Irish pub one hour before and after each performance. Runs until March 21. 8pm. Barboursville Community Center, Rt. 33 and Community Center Lane, Barboursville. $10-12. 540-832-5355.

No Shame Theatre: Up for a theatrical nightcap? Join performers at this alternative venue for original material by anyone about anything. The first 15 people who show up get a spot on stage. Or you can just watch the carryings on. Complete guidelines can be found under "How to No Shame" at 11pm. Live Arts Up Stage Theater, 123 E. Water St. $5. 977-4177.

A Midsummer Night's Dream: Shenandoah Shakespeare performs the Bard's comic masterpiece in the Blackfriars Theater. 7:30pm. 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $10-26. 540-885-5588.

Ginny Hawker and Tracy Schwartz with Elizabeth LaPrelle at the Prism:
Ballad singer Hawker and multi-instrumentalist Schwartz present traditional craftwork in the Appalachian mindset with a 16-year-old singer/songwriter. $14/$12, 8pm.

Vernon Fisher ("romantic side of jazz") at Keswick Hall. No cover, 6:30pm. (W)

The Retrofonics at the Dew Drop Inn. No cover, 9:30pm.

Andy & Denise with Melissa McClain at Gravity Lounge. $8, 8:30pm.

Two Red Shoes and American Dumpster at Outback Lodge. $6, 10pm.

DJ Mike Brie and DJ Bust at Rapture. $5, 10pm.

Open Mic Night at Rapunzel's. Free, 8pm.

Max Collins (otherwordly guitar) at Sheben. No cover, 11pm. (W)

Rock DJ night: "Eargasm" wirh DJ Dr. Faustus at Tokyo Rose. $5, 10pm.

Memories of the Pudhouse Tribute: Ground Monkeys, Grand Banks, and Max No Mach at Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar. $4, 9pm.

DJ Oscar Rojas, DJ Yates, and Buddha present an evening of electronica at Garden of Sheba. 11pm. $10.

SATURDAY, March 13
Weave and Spin:
Nationally known tapestry weaver Joan Griffin demonstrates use of a lap-held, copper pipe loom. Noon-5pm. Art Upstairs, 316 E. Main St., 979-4402.

Frosted Donut: Learn the bead embroidery techniques of "embellishing a gemstone pendant or brooch," taught by Louise Smith. $30. 10am-2pm. 106 Fifth St. SE. Call 244-2905 to register.

Arrete!: "The Closer Look" series at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts offers a gallery discussion of Hector Guimard's design for the Louvre Metro sign. 1:30pm.

Old Man and the Sea:
Old Michie Theatre presents a marionette rendition of the classic fairytale by the Brothers Grimm, "The Fisherman and His Wife." Hand-carved puppets from the Czech Republic tell the tale of the humble fisherman who catches a magical fish. 11am, 2pm, and 4pm. $5. 221 E. Water St. 977-3690.

Big Bones: China may be a world away, but for the next six months, kids can play with replicas of ancient dinosaur skeletons right down the road at the Children's Museum of Richmond. Dinosaurs of China opens today with lots of hands-on exhibits and Dino Don's Big Dinosaur Show at 11am and 2pm. Most activities are free with museum admission. The museum is open 9:30am-5pm Tuesday through Saturday, noon-5pm on Sunday. $7. 2626 W. Broad St., Richmond. 804-474-2667.

Saturn Spectacular: Interest in the heavens is astronomical these days as Saturn swings closer to earth and Jupiter shines brightly nearby. Weather permitting, Charlottesville Astronomical Society members will have their telescopes pointed heavenward at Ivy Creek Natural Area for public observing of these and other heavenly phenomena. 7:30-10pm. Free. Earlysville Road. 978-3671.

Out of this world: The Science Museum of Virginia offers earthbound astronaut wannabes the chance to vicariously climb into a space capsule the size of a Volkswagen Beetle and blast off into the great unknown with the IMAX film Space Station opening today. See Family feature.

Members of the Western Albemarle forensics team, along with their coach, Susan Hull, perform competition pieces including humorous dramatic interpretation, storytelling, and poetry readings. Barnes & Noble, 2pm. 984-0461.

Everyone Loves a Parade:
Help contribute to the Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice's entry in the Dogwood Parade on April 24. This year's theme is "Americans for a just, peaceful world." Come make costumes and signs or sign up to portray a peace-loving hero. Noon-5pm. (You don't have to stay the whole time.) McGuffey Arts Center, studio 11. 201 Second St. NW. 540-456-8176 or

Wild and Wooly: The Virginia Horse Center gallops into spring with its House Mountain Horse Show and Llama, Alpaca, and Youth Show today and tomorrow. The hunter and jumper schooling show starts at 9am. Haul Dobbin down and see how you do, or just go to watch. As for the llamas and alpacas, 500 of the critters will be on hand, from over 100 farms in 18 states. In addition to 200 halter, performance, youth, and "fiber classes" and the "Handcrafters' Spin-Off," vendors offer llama and alpaca fiber goods and "services." Hmm. Classes begin at 8am. Admission to both events is free. Lexington. or 540-464-2950.

Twist but Don't Shout: Alleviate chronic pain and strengthen your back with yoga postures. $45. 10am-1pm at Simply Yoga. 223 W. Main St. 984-9675.

No Famine: Celebrate St. Patrick's Day early as you build your own baked potato and test your luck drawing for discounts and prizes. Today's fun includes a winery tour, tasting, signature wine glass, and potato with toppings. $8. Noon-5pm. Reservations recommended. First Colony Winery, 1650 Harris Creek Road. 979-7105 or

The Beauty Queen of Leenane:
See Friday, March 12.

King Lear: Shenandoah Shakespeare performs the Bard's monumental tragedy in the Blackfriars Theater. 7:30pm. 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $10-26. 540-885-5588.

Live Arts Actor's LAB: Join acting coach and director Carol Pedersen to sharpen your acting tools and gear up for numerous summer acting possibilities now. Runs until April 24. Weekly drop-in session 10-11am, full session 10-1pm. Live Arts, 123 E. Water St. $10 drop-in rate; $160 for full eight-week session. 977-4177x100.

Shakespeare Teacher's Workshop: Shenandoah Shakespeare hosts a daylong teacher's workshop, including a 9am-noon workshop, lunch, the 2pm matinee of Much Ado about Nothing, and a 5-7pm post-show discussion and practicum. Teachers of all levels are welcome. Blackfriars Theater, 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $100 registration ($80 for Shakespeare Teachers Guild); tickets for the 7:30pm performance of King Lear are available for an additional $10. 540-885-5588.

Italian Serenade:
The Charlottesville Vocal Arts Society offers an Italian Serenade, featuring gems of the Italian operatic repertoire from Puccini, Mozart, and Rossini, as well as popular Italian songs. A buffet of antipasto and sweets will be served, along with Italian wine. 7pm. Reservations are required. Municipal Arts Center, Fifth St. Ext. & Harris Road. $20 includes two glasses of wine; $15 for those under 21. 296-2238. See Performance feature.

Triple Doubles:
Join Robin Wynn Baker and Mark Goldstein, Michael Cvetanovich and Mary Gordon Hall, and Tom Proutt and Emily McCormick at Crozet's Mountain View Grill. 8pm. $8.

Dervish at PVCC: Regarded the foremost of Irish traditional music, Dervish formed in 1989 in Northwest Ireland. $18/$15 seniors and students. 500 College Road. 7:30pm. See Tunes feature.

DJ Mike Brie and DJ Bust at Rapture: These hip-hop and funk faves return to Rapture after their solid New Year's Eve spin for another magical night– and you won't need a ball dropping to know when to make out. $5, 10pm.

Vernon Fisher ("romantic side of jazz") at Keswick Hall. No cover, 6:30pm. (W)

Heather Berry and Oh Susanna at Gravity Lounge, $8, 8:30pm.

Modern Groove Syndicate (jam/experimental) at Outback Lodge. $6, 10pm.

Willie Kirschbaum with the "Wednesday Wizards" and more at Rapunzel's. $5, 8pm.

Fair Weather Bums (bluegrass) at Sheben. No cover, 11pm. (W)

Year & A Day CD Release Party (rock) with Candlejack at Starr Hill. $10/$8, 9pm.

Plus minus(ex-Versus), and The Comas at Tokyo Rose. $5, 10pm.

SUNDAY, March 14
Sparkle Plenty:
Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church opens an exhibition of stained glass and mosaics by Alison Jarvis Watkins on March 14. Reception at 12:30pm. 717 Rugby Road. 295-4083.

Let us Pray: Docent Kay Davidson leads the Virginia Museum of Fine Art's tour of the month, "Goddesses," starting at 3pm. Free. VMFA 2800 Grove Ave., Richmond. 804-204-2704.

Fun Day:
Creative types of all ages are invited to show their artistic side at Central Library. Collage is the medium of the day as participants create their own unique works of art. 2-3pm. Free. 201 E. Market St. 979-7151, ext. 3.

He's Hiding:
"Searching for God in a Magic Shop" is the title of a show by Arthur Kurzweil, popular teacher of the Talmud and other serious Jewish texts. Jewish tales about spiritual ideas blend with some pretty cool magic tricks. 2:30pm. Congregation Beth Israel. Jefferson and Third streets. $2 children under 13. Adults $5.

Wild and Wooly: See Saturday, March 13. Today the horses are up and at 'em at 8:30am, but the llamas and alpacas get to sleep in. Their show doesn't start 'til 9am.

Lift Your Voice!: Director Carlton Dickerson invites all interested singers to the first rehearsal of the Dogwood Chorus. Rehearsals begin today and continue March 21, 28 and April 4 and 18 at 3pm each Sunday. Dress rehearsal is April 23 at First Baptist Church on Park Street, where the 25th annual concert takes place April 25 during the Dogwood Festival. Rehearsals are at Trinity Episcopal Church, Preston Avenue. All interested singers are encouraged to join the chorus today at 3pm. 296-4040 or

Sunday Salsa:
Charlottesville's Salsa Club sponsors a weekly opportunity to learn and practice salsa and other dances in a smoke-free nightclub atmosphere. A basic lesson (usually salsa) gets the evening started at 8pm. Complimentary water and sodas. The Outback Lodge, 917 Preston Ave. 8pm-midnight. $3-5. or 979-7211.

The Beauty Queen of Leenane: See Friday, March 12. Today's show is a matinee at 2:30pm.

Tartuffe: Shenandoah Shakespeare performs Moliere's comic masterpiece in the Blackfriars Theater. 2pm. 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $10-26. 540-885-5588.

Italian Serenade: See Saturday, March 13. Today's show is at 3pm. See Performance feature.

Audition Notice: Live Arts holds auditions for Lattehouse VI. Perform your own (songs, monologues, scenes, poetry of your original creation) and read from script submissions. Show runs Thursday, May 6 through Saturday, May 22. 7pm. Live Arts UpStage, 123 E. Water St. 977-4177x100.

The Hogwaller Ramblers (bluegrass mayhem) at Escafé. No cover, 10pm. (W)

The Zing Kings (everything and more) at Gravity Lounge. Free, 11am-2pm. (W)

The George Turner Trio, featuring vocalist Lori Derr (originals and jazz

Standards) at Gravity Lounge. $5, 7:30pm.

Flute Circle Meeting at Rapunzel's. Free, 1pm (open to all who wish to play or listen).

Irish Music Session at Sheben. No cover, 3-6pm. (W)

MONDAY, March 15
LiveArts Playwright's LAB:
This twice-monthly playwriting workshop is designed to give new and seasoned playwrights an environment to develop and refine original works. Meets the first and third Monday of every month. 6:30pm. Live Arts, 123 E. Water St. Free. 977-4177 x100.

Audition Notice: See Sunday, March 14.

Secret Agent Lady:
Lindsay Moran Kegley was a case officer for the Central Intelligence Agency from 1998-2003, when she resigned in order to dedicate herself to her primary passion, writing. She has published articles in USA Today, the Washington Post, the New York Times, Harvard Magazine, and Washingtonian. She's at the Miller Center today at 11am. 2201 Old Ivy Road, 924-0921.

Nature explorers:
Nature lovers ages 6-11 can discover the creatures that inhabit the skies and learn about the constellations at the Virginia Museum of Natural History's nature club. 4pm. $4. Registration required. 104 Emmet St. 982-4605.

Open Mic Night with Charles Davis at Baja Bean. No cover, signup 8:30pm/9pm. (W)

Jackson Gibson at Coupe DeVille's. No cover, 10:30pm. (W)

Applejack Jam at Gravity Lounge. $5, 8:30pm.

Matthew Wilner solo (guitar, bass, synths, loops, devices) at Miller's. No cover, 10pm.

The George Turner Trio (jazz) at Orbit. No cover, 9pm.

George Melvin (piano merriment) at South Street Brewery. No cover, 9:30pm. (W)

Jim Ryan (jazz bass and love songs) upstairs at Tokyo Rose. Free, 9pm. (W)

Travis Elliot (pop) at the Virginian. No cover, 10:30pm. (W)

TUESDAY, March 16
Poetry Lounge:
Tucker Duncan's monthly poetry reading/spoken word series continues this week. Sign up to read with or without musical accompaniment. 9pm. Live Arts UpStage, 123 E. Water St. $3. 977-4177.

Christ for kids:
Splintered Light Bookstore hosts a dessert discussion on how to relate kids' books and the Christian life. Free. 296-3977 for reservations and directions.

Jump Start: Outside-the-box guy Chic Thompson is the guest of the Charlottesville Venture Group for a presentation on organizational creativity and "the inherent paradox of change." UVA's Darden School of Business. 7:30am. or 979-7259.

Happy to Be Here:
Princeton emeritus professor Freeman Dyson talks about properties of the universe that make it such a nice place to live in "A Friendly Universe," part of UVA's Page-Barbour lecture series. 5-6:30pm. Reception follows. McLeod Auditorium.

Richard Thompson with Julian Coryell at Starr Hill:
Guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter for the folk-rock group Fairport Convention, Thompson is famous for his instrumental work, as well as being an accomplished lyricist. $25/$22 advance, 8pm.

Karaoke Night (what you make of it) at Baja Bean. Free, 8pm. (W)

Jamie and Rolland (partial bluegrass mayhem) at the Blue Moon Diner. No cover, 8pm. (W)

Glen Mack at Coupe DeVille's. No cover, 10:30pm. (W)

Irish Music School Benefit at Gravity Lounge. $14/$12, 8:30pm (kids under 5 free).

Look and Listen:
Join local literary luminary John Casey as he reads from his work at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. He's part of the museum's "Poetic Principles" series which includes Kelly Cherry on April 21, and Yusef Komunyakaa on May 5. $5, $3 museum members. 6pm. 2800 Grove Ave., Richmond. 804-340-1405.

Il Postino:
Antonio Skármeta, the Chilean novelist who brought us Il Postino, speaks tonight about his work and that of Pablo Neruda. 6:30pm, Chemistry Building 402, UVA. 924-4651.

Peter Pan:
The Charlottesville High School Theatre Department presents J. M. Barrie's classic in the Charlottesville High School Black Box Theatre. 7pm. 1562 Dairy Road. $5; $1 for students on March 18. 245-2725.

Country Dance Night: Couples and line dancing at Fry's Spring Beach Club. Dance lesson free with cover. Lesson 7pm, dancing 8-11pm. 2512 Jefferson Park Ave. $7 cover, $4 full-time students; students $2 every fourth Wednesday through May. 977-0491.

Much Ado About Nothing: See Saturday, March 13. Today's show is at 7:30pm.

A Midsummer Night's Dream: See Friday, March 12. Today's show is an early-bird special at 10:30am.

Talk about It:
The Center for Christian Study and Congregation Beth Israel present "The Passion of The Christ: A Public Discussion." Panelists are Rabbi Daniel Alexander, Professor Harry Gamble, chairman of UVA's religious studies program, and Dr. Drew Trotter, president of the Center for Christian Study. Dr. Lawrence Adams, Dean of St. Augustine's Theological Institute, is the moderator. Free. 7:30pm. 301 E. Jefferson St. 295-6382.

Wrong Neighborhood?: Princeton emeritus professor Freeman Dyson talks about why planets might not be the best places for life to thrive in outer space. Tonight's lecture, "Looking for Life,'' suggests other places to look. 5-6:30pm. Reception to follow. McLeod Auditorium.

Tales for tots:
The five-and-under crowd can listen to stories about things that "go" at Barnes & Noble's preschool story time. Stickers and cookies are part of the fun. 10:30am. Free. Barracks Road Shopping Center. 984-6598.

An Evening with Deep Fried at Starr Hill:
Featuring George Porter, Matt Abs, Johnny Neel, and Brian Stoltz form an extremely live musical ensemble– creating it as they go along. Improvisation is the word for Deep Fried's sound. $15/$12.50 advance, 8pm.

Cheesy Trivia with M&M Express at Buffalo Wild Wings. No cover, 8:30pm. (W)

Moossa with Weathervance a Gravity Lounge. $5, 8:30pm.

The Mike Rosensky Jeff Decker Quartet (jazz) at Miller's. No cover, 9:30pm. (W)

St. Pat's Celebration with Max Collins at Orbit. No cover, 10pm.

The Hamiltons at Outback Lodge. Free, 10pm.

Open Jam at Rapunzel's Coffee & Books. Free, 7pm. (W)

Middle Eastern Belly Dance Class at Rapunzel's Coffee & Books. Free, 6:30pm. (W)

Kathy Olsen Trio (jazz) upstairs at Tokyo Rose. No cover, 9:30pm. (W)

Jim Davies (acoustic rock and blues) at the Virginian. No cover, 10pm. (W)

The George Turner Trio (Latin jazz) at Zocalo. No cover, 9pm.

THURSDAY, March 18
Princeton professor of visual arts P. Adams Sitney, legendary in the world of avant-garde cinema, lectures on "The Relics of Modernism" at 6pm as part of UVA's spring art history lecture series. Screening of two short films precedes the talk at 5:30pm: Hollis Frampton's "Gloria!" and Stan Brakhage's "Visions in Meditation #2: Mesa Verde." 6pm. Campbell Hall, Room 160. 924-7550.

Back to Basics: Terri Gable offers a class in bead stringing basics at Studio Baboo. Beginners can learn to make a necklace or bracelet. 5:30-7:30pm. $25 (materials included). Studio Learning Loft, 106 Fifth St SE. 244-2905.

Flush the Ritalin:
Individuals seeking non-medication treatment or parents of children diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, learning disabilities, anxiety, sleep disorders, seizures, depression, tics, or migraines can get help at a seminar sponsored by members of the Neurofeedback Association of the Piedmont. 7-9pm. Free and open to the public. Reservations not required. Martha Jefferson Hospital Education Conference Room, corner of 10th and Little High streets. 531-2268 or 979-3810.

Time Travelers: Explorers ages kindergarten and up are invited to take a trek to ancient Egypt during the time of pharaohs, pyramids, and mummies with stories, activities, and crafts at Northside Library. 4pm. Free. Registration required. Albemarle Square. 973-7893.

Tales for Tots: See Wednesday, March 17.

Three women from Jerusalem share their experiences and dreams of interfaith harmony. Christian, Jewish and Muslim, the women are touring nine cities in an effort to extend their dialogue. New Cabell Hall, Room 138. 7pm. 924-3033. See Words Feature.

And More Dialogue: Also discussing peace in the Middle East are Joe Montville of CSIS, columnist Helena Cobban, Professor Marc Gopin, and Mustafa Abu-Sway. Moderated by Lisa Aronson of the Center for the Study of the Mind and Human Interaction. 4-6pm, Minor Hall, Room 125. 982-1045.

"Possible Futures" is the final talk by Princeton professor Freeman Dyson in UVA's Page-Barbour lecture series. The next hundred years may produce knowledge to practice a new art-form, a mixture of architecture and horticulture, designing and breeding new species and new ecologies. Come hear all about it. 5-6:30pm. Reception to follow. McLeod Auditorium.

Peter Pan:
See Wednesday, March 17.

Swing Swap: The Charlottesville Swing Dance Society hosts this weekly Thursday-night swing dancing session, with an hour of East Coast Swing, an hour of West Coast Swing, and a DJ taking requests. Singles and couples welcome, no partner needed. 7-9pm. Albemarle County Office Building Auditorium, 401 McIntire Road. Free. 980-2744.

Nine, the musical: Catch this preview night of Live Arts' new main stage production, a Tony-award winning musical fantasy on the life and work of Federico Fellini. Call box office for free ticket info. 8pm. Live Arts, 123 E. Water St. 977-4177x100.

Tartuffe: Shenandoah Shakespeare performs Moliere's comic masterpiece in the Blackfriars Theater. Tonight's performance includes Talk Back!, a free 30-minute Q&A with actors and directors after the show. Participants do not have to attend the 7:30pm show. 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $10-26. 540-885-5588.

Cowboy Mouth with Griffin House and Zox at Starr Hill:
Mixed up band Cowboy Mouth don't know what they are– pop, rock, folk, country? Whatever, it's the end product that matters. Find out what that's like tonight at Starr Hill. $15/$12.50, 9pm.

Jim Waive (country-folk) at the Blue Moon Diner. Free, 8pm (W)

Karaoke Night with DJ Wild Wes at Buffalo Wild Wings. Free, 9pm (W)

Chicken Head Blues Band at Dürty Nelly's. $4, 9pm. (W)

Thompson/ D'earth and friends (freeform jazz) at Miller's. $4, 10pm. (W)

In Tenebris and Heretics in the Lab at Outback Lodge. $3, 10pm.

Robert Jospe (jazz) at Rapture. No cover, 7:30pm. (W)

Satisfaction (dance party) at Rapture. No cover, 10:30pm. (W)

Middle Eastern Belly Dance Class at Rapunzel's Coffee & Books. Free, 6:30pm. (W)

Hogwaller Ramblers at Sheben. No cover, 10pm. (W)

Upcoming and Ongoing
The Arts Center in Orange seeks exhibits for a growing Satellite Gallery program that currently includes Not the Same Old Grind, a coffee shop on Church street, and The Virginia National Bank on Main street. Please send no more than five slides (two-dimensional work only) and an artist bio to The Arts Center in Orange Satellite Gallery Program; 129 E. Main St., Box 13, Orange 22960. 540-672-7311,

Drawing on Books:
Artists in grades 6-12 can enter their work in the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library ninth annual logo contest in preparation for Cheap Thrills, the library's summer reading program for teens. Original designs can be submitted at any branch by March 28. Contest forms and details at local branches. 979-7151, ext. 215.

Spring Break Fun: While school's on break, nature lovers ages 6-9 can learn about predators and prey and endangered species at the Virginia Museum of Natural History's nature camp. Participants can collect specimens and examine them under the microscope, play outdoor games, make crafts from nature, and enjoy other hands-on activities. April 5-8 from 9am-noon. $105. Registration required. 104 Emmet St. 982-4605.

Eat or be Eaten: Adventurous types can step into a dog-eat-dog world and find out "Who's for Dinner?" at a new exhibit at the Virginia Museum of Natural History. Taxidermied specimens, puppets, and interactive activities help explorers learn about the unusual ways animals hunt for their food and protect themselves from predators. Open Monday-Thursday 10am-4pm. Free. 104 Emmet St. 982-4605.

Moving Heaven and Earth: Kids aren't the only things in constant motion. At the Virginia Discovery Museum the earth and its movement is the subject of the Back Gallery exhibit that explores Patterns, Cycles, and Change. Kids can move the planets, create a rainstorm, and journey through the seasons through May 16. Free with museum admission. East end of the Downtown Mall. 977-1025.

Martian Chronicles: The Virginia Discovery Museum gets into the Mars mania with a new display in the Discovery Corner. Maps, globes, artifacts, and new NASA images let earth-bound explorers probe the Red Planet. Included in the price of admission. East end of the Downtown Mall. 977-1025.

Filling the Void: Stella is a black hole. Stella bats her lilac eyelashes and reminisces about her glory days as a giant star, how she explodes and becomes a black hole, and about the mysteries she still keeps to herself in the Science Museum of Virginia's multimedia planetarium show Black Holes now through June 13. Included in the price of admission. 2500 W. Broad St., Richmond. 800-659-1727.

Ka-ching: So what is money and how does it work? Enterprising folks can enter the vibrant city of Moneyville and embark on an exciting hands-on tour through a money factory and an anti-counterfeiting forensics lab at the Science Museum of Virginia. Runs through April 25. Included with the price of admission. 2500 W. Broad St., Richmond. 800-659-1727.

World Beat: Discover how rhythm and movement link different cultures, locations, and musical traditions in the new IMAX film "Pulse: A Stomp Odyssey" at the Science Museum of Virginia. Two long-time Stomp performers guide visitors through grand landscapes and cultural celebrations in Brazil, South Africa, Spain, England, Japan, India, the United States, and various countries in Africa to learn how people from around the world experience music and dance. Runs through July 16. Call or see website for schedule and cost. 2500 W. Broad St., Richmond. 800-659-1727.

Barhoppers 2004:
Offstage Theater presents its highly popular annual festival of bar-themed plays performed in bars, including works by local playwrights Joel Jones, Sophie Treadwell, and Stephen Boykewich. Performances at Orbit March 21-23, and at Rapture, March 28-30 and April 4-6. All shows at 7:30pm. $8. 531-0158.

Come into the Library:
Ashlawn-Highland exhibits rarely seen selections from James Monroe's collection of 3,000 late 18th- and early 19th-century French and English volumes. Open daily through April 30, 10am-6pm. 293-9539.

What's Our Role?:
The League of Women Voters hosts a Town Hall meeting Tuesday, March 23, part of a nationwide project encouraging citizen comment on "America's Role in the World." David Newsom and Indar Jit Rikhye speak on the topic, "What's Next in Iraq?" Q&A session follows. Noon. Monticello Event & Conference Center, Monticello avenue and Gleason street. Bring lunch, or order one for $11.50 (reserve by Friday, March 19). 970-1707 or

Run for Your Life: UVA's Zeta Tau Alpha and New Balance sponsor the 10th Annual Run for Life 5K race Saturday, March 27. Registration 8am, race begins at 10am. $12 in advance; $15 race day. Race starts and finishes at Newcomb Hall Plaza behind University Bookstore. Register at Norwood's New Balance or online at 964-1616.

Vanity Salon and Gallery features the photography of Amy Wade and the paintings of Monty Montgomery. 1112 E. High St. 977-3332.

The Second Street Gallery presents two shows running through May 1. In the Main Gallery, view the language-inspired art of Kay Rosen's "New Word Order" (including "Blurred," a 37-foot-long site-specific piece), and in the Dové Gallery, experience "You Kill Me," an installation investigating the nature of romance, by D'nell Larson. City Center for Contemporary Arts, corner of Second and Water streets. 977-7284.

The University of Virginia Art Museum presents "Exploring Identity: Work by Southern Jewish Women Artists," featuring pieces by Jan Aronson, Marcia R. Cohen, Johanna Drucker, Linda Gissen, and Alyssa C. Salomon, through April 25. Also on view: "American Collage," including work by Andy Warhol, Adja Yunkers, and Robert Motherwell, among others, through August 24. In celebration of the Virginia Festival of the Book, the Graphics Gallery features "Waking Dreams: Book Art and 'Literary Art' from the Collection" through April 4. 155 Rugby Road. 924-3952.

The Kluge-Ruhe Collection of Aboriginal Art presents "Family Business: Kinship in Australian Aboriginal Art" through June 5. 400 Worrell Drive, Peter Jefferson Place. 244-0234.

New Dominion Bookshop displays Nancy K. Bass's "Landscapes with Cows" through March 31. 404 E. Main St. 295-2552.

Spencer's 206 shows painter Edward Thomas's recent work. Water street 295-2080.

The PVCC Gallery shows paintings by Kathy Craig and Eugenia Rausse through March 17. V. Earl Dickinson Building, 500 College Drive. 961-5203.

At the C&O Gallery, view Nancy Galloway's exhibition of new pastels, "Images Within and Without," through March. Next door to the C&O Restaurant, 511 E. Water St. 971-7044.

Experience "We," Greg Antrim Kelly's interactive multi-media art installation, at the Old Michie Building through March 29. 609 E. Market St. 249-9819 or

Nature Visionary Art presents "New Work from Alabama" by painter Michael Banks, through March 26. 110 Fourth St. 296-8482.

During March, view photographer p. bower's [sic] "Friends, Flora, and Fauna: Meandering Along the Continuum" at C'ville Coffee. 1301 Harris St. 817-2633.

Enjoy the artwork of Sam Shaban during March at Higher Grounds. 112 W. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 971-8743.

Feast! presents two photography shows in one, "Pictures from Travels to South America" by Larry Dennis, and "Petals and Metal" by Holly Dennis, during March. Main Street Market Building, West Main street. 244-7800.

During March, CODG presents "Gloaming," an exhibition of Lisa Stoessel's paintings and drawings, as well as Corin Hunter's photography. 112 E. Main St., under the Jefferson Theater. 242-4212.

View the Central Virginia Watercolor Guild's 2004 Members Exhibition, featuring 67 paintings by 33 members, at the Albemarle County Courthouse, through April 30. McIntire Road. 296-8484.

The Dave Moore Studio features works by Dave Moore and several Richmond artists. Hours vary, so call first. 414 E. Main St. (under The Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar). 825-1870.

David Cochrane's abstract/geometric paintings and Matisse- and Picasso-influenced portraits are on view at the architectural firm of Stoneking/Von Storch. Also on display are photographs by Sarah Hormel-Everett and paintings by Priscilla Whitlock. Fifth and Water streets. 295-4204.

Barnes & Noble Booksellers shows acrylic paintings by Maiya Ruys through March 31 in the back of the store near the poetry section. Barracks Road Shopping Center. 984-0461

Through March 28, Les Yeux du Monde@dot2Dot presents Susan Bacik's "State of the Union: A Brief Survey of Love" in its downstairs gallery. Upstairs, view Stanley Woodward's "Spring Flowers" through April 30. 115 S. First St. 973-5566.

Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church opens an exhibition of stained glass and mosaics by Alison Jarvis Watkins on March 14. Reception at 12:30pm. 717 Rugby Road. 295-4083.

View the silkscreen prints and stencil works of Steven Townsend at Vespa Charlottesville during March. 900 Preston Ave. 466-9236.

Andrew Hersey displays a new series of photographs entitled "Eleven Bedrooms" at the Mudhouse in March. 213 W. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 984-6833.

L'étoile Restaurant has a show by local artists Barry Gordon and Malcolm Hughes. Gordon's abstract works feature interiors and everyday objects; Hughes portrays landscapes in the Impressionist style. 817 W. Main St. (across from the Amtrak Station). 979-7957.

Paintings by Gloria Mitchell are on display at The Artful Lodger, 1807 Seminole Trail. 970-1900.

During March, Judith K. Townsend's "Strange Attractions," a series of watercolors inspired by physics and mathematics, is on view at Art Upstairs. 316 E. Main St., above The Hardware Store, on the Downtown Mall. 923-3900.

The Charlottesville-Albemarle Art Association is exhibiting the work of Betty Brubach, Blake Hurt, Phyllis Frame, Amy Howard, Coy Roy, Judith Ely, and Karen Jaegerman Collins on the upper level mezzanine of the Charlottesville Airport through May 2. 295-2486.

Jerry O'Dell's paintings and stained glass creations are on view at Blue Ridge Glass & Crafts. 1724 Allied St. 293-2876.

The McGuffey Art Center presents Alan O'Neal's "Nexus," an exhibition of large color abstractions, as well as "A Rabbit, a Bee, and a Place called Seeonee," a show celebrating the Virginia Festival of the Book, with work by book artists Robin Braun, Frank Riccio, Rose Csorba, and Bob Anderson. In addition, fourth- and fifth-year UVA students present a group show on the theme "Collage." 201 Second St. NW. 295-7973. See Art feature.

Transient Crafters displays "Angora: From Bunnies to Skien," a series of stuffed rabbits spun and knit by Jackie Fields, during March. 118 W. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 972-9500.

The Bozart Gallery presents "God's Love," a series of all-new, abstract non-objective paintings in acrylics by Delmon Brown Hall IV, through March 28. 211 W. Main St. 296-4669.

Selected landscapes by Richard Crozier are on view at Hotcakes through May 2. Barracks Road Shopping Center. 295-6037.

Martha Jefferson Hospital presents a show entitled "The Creative Process" through June 4. In the second floor Surgery Lounge, view "Flowers and Still Lifes," oil paintings by Vidu Palta during the month of March. 459 Locust Ave. 982-7000.


The Staunton Augusta Arts Center celebrates Youth Art Month with a display of nearly 400 works by students, ages 5 to 18, on view through April. Gypsy Hill Park, Staunton. 540-855-2028.

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts presents "Best Friends: Portraits of Sydney and Francis Lewis," a series of portraits by a range of artists, including Chuck Close and Andy Warhol, through July 11. The VMFA Studio School hosts a retrospective of Thomas C. Gordon Jr.'s work, through April 2. Richmond. 2800 Grove Ave. 804-924-2704.

Ombra's Café displays "Recent Still Lifes," oils by painter Vidu Palta, through April. 5773 The Square, Crozet. 296-4669.

The Nichols Gallery Annex in Barboursville shows "Hands-On Printmakers," a display of mono-prints, etchings, and serigraphs by Ed Bordett, Frank Hobbs, David Freed, Fred Nichols, Tucker Hill, Akemi Ohira, and Carlysle Vicenti, through April 25. 540-832-3565.

The Artisans Center of Virginia hosts a show of crafts made at Innisfree Village, a community of mentally disabled adults, through March 31. 601 Shenandoah Village Drive (exit 94 off I-64), Waynesboro. 540-946-3294.

Sculptor Jonathan Durham's exhibition "Cyrus (the Younger): Zero-Degree Monumentality in Cinema Space" is on view in the former Nature Gallery space. Water street, behind the Jefferson Theater. 924-6123.

The Front Street Gallery presents "Natural Bridges," drawings and paintings by Jim Langer, through April 30. 773 Front Street, Lovingston. 434-263-8526.

Charlottesville artist Elizabeth Geiger displays her paintings at the Williams School of Commerce at Washington and Lee University. Lexington. 540-458-8602.

Through March 27, Caffé Bocce displays Georgia Barbour's "Photographs of Vietnam." 330 Valley St., Scottsville. 286-4422.

The buzz: Robin Braun's dreaming bee

When Robin Braun's father died several years ago, she felt overwhelmed by a sea of grief. But as a graduate student in fine arts, she took her emotional upheaval and translated it using her brush and oils. What emerged was an image of a tiny bumblebee, engulfed in haze, struggling to fly above roiling waves.

"There's a bee in the fog out over the ocean," says Braun. "What could be worse?"

This darkly sentimental painting (it's impossible not to sigh for the little bee's plight) became the seed for a series of bee-centered vignettes that eventually bloomed into a children's book entitled The Bee's Dream.

The full set of Braun's 7x11-inch oil-on-MDF panels is currently on view at the McGuffey Art Center as part of "A Rabbit, a Bee, and a Place Called Seeonee: Four Children's Book Illustrators."

In her artist's statement, Braun explains the bumblebee caught her attention because scientists can't justify how the insect is able carry its weight with such small wings. "I was intrigued," she writes, "by the idea that maybe they fly because of sheer determination and will."

Her bee begins his story crawling in the shadow of grass blades, as a dragonfly and yellow jackets buzz overhead. Then in a night scene, flashing with fireflies, the bee dreams he, too, can fly, and takes to the air in early dawn.

But his flight is fraught with peril, as he wings his way across a stormy sea (the original panel plus several others) until, finally, he returns home, soaring above even the dragonfly. The final panel shows our bee happily flying through a summer landscape at twilight beneath a tender crescent moon.

Braun's images stand apart from the work of the other three artists in the McGuffey show&emdash; Bob Anderson, Rose Csorba, and Frank Riccio&emdash; because each of her panels shines as an individual painting in its own right beyond being an illustration.

Her passion for such 19th century Hudson River School painters as Frederic Church, Martin Johnson Heade, and George Inness shows in the lush skies&emdash; ranging from rain-laden gray to sunset-tipped coral&emdash; that enrich her sea- and landscapes.

Using exquisitely meticulous strokes (the viewer can practically feel the bee's yellow fuzz), Braun first creates a small natural sphere of precisely observed fiddleheads and thistles and then expands it outward as the bee's experience of the world broadens.

"It's sort of a self portrait," Braun says, smiling.

The McGuffey Art Center presents "A Rabbit, a Bee, and a Place Called Seeonee: Four Children's Book Illustrators" in celebration of the Virginia Festival of the Book. The exhibition runs through March 28. 201 Second St. NW. 295-7973.

Voices of peace: Israeli women come to town

Whether or not you catch the "Jerusalem Women Speak" tour when it pulls into UVA, expect to hear from these women:

Nahla Assali, a 65-year-old Palestinian Muslim, and the co-founder of a charitable organization; Dr. Nuha Khoury, a Christian Palestinian, and 41-year-old deputy director of Dar al-Kalima Academy; and 35-year-old Michal Sagi, a Jewish Israeli and member of Checkpoint Watch.

The women, all Jerusalem residents, are here to tell their stories, answer questions, and gauge the level of American knowledge about the conflict that divides their families and homes– but their number one objective is to storm the media.

"America is so geographically isolated that people don't feel that what happens in the Middle East affects them. But there's a ripple effect, and it's hugely important.," says WINA's Bruce Sanborn, who plans to interview the women when they arrive. "For these women to come here sends an important message about cooperation in a state where Democrats and Republicans can't even have dinner together."

That is the response that Jerri Bird, president of Partners for Peace, is angling for.

"Most peace activists felt that there was too much bias in the press to get their message across," says Bird of the tendency of media to pick up only stories of violence and politics. "We decided we need to prove that the media could be receptive."

Personally recruited by Bird, the wife of a former Foreign Service official stationed in Jerusalem in 1956, a trio of women representing the different faiths, ethnicities, and ages of the divided city has toured America annually since 1998. The tours have generated so much positive response that Partners for Peace has committed itself to two tours this year.

Charlottesville is the second stop on a nine-city circuit of the southeast that begins in Washington, D.C., heads as far south as Birmingham, and winds up in Richmond. While there is only one public event planned for March 20, Bird says it's not unusual for the three participants to have four or five speaking engagements a day throughout the 17-day tour.

At tour's end, these women, who were strangers before, must return to relative estrangement in a poignant reminder of what they are here to expose.

"Because of the Israeli occupation, it's almost impossible for them to see each other," says Bird. "It's not as though they can work together [to build on the relationship they have cultivated on tour]&endash; they just have to do it within their own communities."

Assali, Khoury, and Sagi are "Jerusalem Women Speak," Thursday , March 18, at UVA's New Cabell Hall Room 138. 7pm. Short presentations are followed by a Q & A session. 924-3033.

High adventure: Banff festival's films span the globe

From ice-climbing in the Canadian Rockies to paragliding in the Himalayas, from the nomadic lives of Tibetan herders to the climbing adventures of Biscuit the dog, this year's Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour captures the spirit of mountain adventure.

You can be part of that adventure at the Festival's Charlottesville premiere March 14-15.

Films in this year's tour range from exploits at the ends of the earth to adventures in your own backyard. On the way, virtually every corner of the globe makes an appearance, including Iceland, Norway, Mexico, Nepal, Bhutan, Montserrat, China, Siberia, Italy, Pakistan, Croatia, Switzerland, Canada, and the United States.

Front Range Freaks: Biscuit (3 minutes long), which shows both days, profiles a small dog with a big appetite for rock climbing. A Man Called Nomad (39 minutes) examines the dilemma of nomadic herders caught between their traditional lifestyle and the changing world around them. Wehyakin (36 minutes) follows a crew of international paddlers as they plunge through spectacular white water in Iceland, Norway, and Mexico.

The Other Final, the longest film at 53 minutes, tells the story of a game between the lowest-ranked teams in international soccer– Bhutan and Montserrat. Played against a mountainous Bhutanese backdrop on the same day as the World Cup Final, this match is more about the love of sport than the final score.

The tour includes award-winning films from the Banff Mountain Film Festival, an annual event held in early November in Alberta, Canada. This year over 300 entries from 38 countries were entered in competition.

Blue Ridge Mountain Sports in Barracks Road, sponsors of the event, have scheduled two showings this year. A 3pm matinee on Sunday, March 14, features high adventure and adrenaline sports for thrill seekers of all ages. The films lined up for 7pm on Monday, March 15, depict the tremendous beauty and emotional depth of mountain culture that will be familiar to people who have attended Festival shows in the past.

Catch one or both, and you'll find yourself catching your breath as you watch.

The Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour shows at UVA's Darden School auditorium, 3pm March 14, and 7pm March 15. Tickets available at Blue Ridge Mountain Sports, UVA Aquatics and Fitness center, and at the door. $10 general public, $8 students, Sunday $5 kids under 16. 977-4400 or

Moon man: Shepherd joins film debut

Here's a secret: Ever since I watched Neil Armstrong step out of the lunar lander onto the surface of the moon, I've wanted to be an astronaut. If the invitation ever came my way to hop aboard some spacecraft and take a ride, I'd be suited up in a heartbeat.

The Science Museum of Virginia offers earthbound astronaut wannabes like me the next best thing: the chance to vicariously climb into a space capsule the size of a Volkswagen Beetle and blast off into the great unknown with the IMAX film Space Station which opens this Saturday.

In the year 2000, American astronaut Bill Shepherd teamed up with Russian cosmonauts Yuri Gidzenko and Sergei Krikalev as the first people to inhabit the International Space Station. The crew occupied the station for nearly five months, setting up experiments and doing research on the long-term effects of zero gravity on the human body. The film chronicles their larger than life journey from training and prep work to launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in the Kazakhstan desert to living and working in a place where a walk out the front door is a real cosmic experience.

"The camera actually puts you right there, with them, moving around and floating in space," says the film's producer and director Toni Myers. "The IMAX footage captures the excitement and magnitude of this amazing project being built in outer space in a way that no other medium can."

As a special treat, Shepherd shows up at the museum on opening day with two opportunities for space-hungry visitors to meet, greet, and eat with the space star. "Lunch with Captain Shepherd" happens from 10:30am-1pm and includes an 11am screening of the film and lunch at noon with the astronaut. "Martinis and a Movie" is an adults-only occasion that includes hors d'oeuvres at 6pm, discussion with Shepherd and a screening of the film at 7:30pm, and desert and coffee at 8:30pm.

It's not everyday someone gets to see this beautiful blue planet from 220 miles above it. It also won't be long before the opportunity to pretend you're out there disappears, too. Space Station runs through June 11.

Tickets for the film and exhibits are $11.50 for kids 4-12, $12.50 for adults, and $12 for seniors. Tickets for the film only are $7. Lunch costs $15 for kids under 12 and $20 for adults. Martinis and a Movie is $30. Check the website for schedule. 2500 W. Broad St., Richmond. 800-6591727.

That's amore: "Italian Serenade" whets appetites

Growing up in the part of New Jersey The Sopranos has since made famous, I used to believe Italian culture meant being as tan as possible, shouting from second-floor windows in a sleeveless undershirt, and revving your Camaro at intersections. Fortunately, I've since learned about the real Italian culture&emdash; the kind that's in Italy&emdash; which involves being as tan as possible, yelling from second-floor windows in a sleeveless undershirt, and revving your scooter at intersections.

It's all in the details, they say.

Before the invention of the internal-combustion engine, of course, Italian culture had its heart in its throat: It was all about great opera. Rossini, Puccini, and Verdi littered the stages of Europe with dying lovers who sang like angels even with multiple stab wounds.

Since modern Italian culture zipped into Charlottesville last fall in the form of Vespa dealership, it was only a matter of time before the classic kind followed. You can get your fill of it this weekend at the Charlottesville Vocal Arts Society's "Italian Serenade: the music, food and wine of Italy."

Arrival by scooter recommended, but not required.

The Charlottesville Vocal Arts Society began in 1996 when then-director of the UVA Opera Workshop Edmund Najera decided to create an organization that would provide a setting for non-student vocalists to practice their art and share it with the larger community. Back then it was called The Opera Society, and its first performance favored Puccini and Verdi.

Full operatic productions followed, as did solo recitals by local artists, concerts of scenes and arias, and afternoon performances at local wineries. In June, the Society will take on what may be its most ambitious project yet: a production of La Boheme at the White Hall Vineyard.

Consider this weekend a preview. "An Italian Serenade" will include works by Puccini, Rossini, and Mozart (he wasn't an Italian, but he did an excellent impression of one), as well as popular Italian songs of the Olive Garden soundtrack variety, i.e., "Volare" and "That's Amore." Appropriately enough, a buffet of antipasti and dolci will be served, and if you're over 21, you get two glasses of Italian wine in the bargain. What doesn't start to sound good after two glasses of wine?

If you're one of those people who finds opera incomprehensible, that's one more thing you and Friedrich Nietzsche have in common. "With just a little more impertinence," Nietzsche wrote, "Rossini would have had everybody sing nothing but la-la-la." But that would have been just fine, since "it is the beautiful unnaturalness for whose sake one goes to the opera."

Italian Serenade is at 7pm March 13 and 3pm March 14. Reservations are required. Municipal Arts Center, Fifth St. Ext. and Harris Road. $20; $15 for those under 21. 296-2238.

Charged up: Dervish brings the past to life

Saint Patrick's Day is less than a week away, and I for one am pumped. I'm only about a third Irish (give or take a pinch of Romanian), but visions of Guinness and rip-roaring pub sing-alongs in front of a roaring fire (guess Dürty Nelly's will be where I'm spending March 13) have been dancing in my head for some weeks.

To help myself achieve a further Schwarzenegger-like aura, I'm going to saunter my way to the ole' V. Earl Dickinson Building at "That Other University In Town" (PVCC) for a concert by the traditional Irish band Dervish.

Flute and whistle player Liam Kelly and accordion player Shane Mitchell first played together at a tender age and kept up their collaboration through high school and into college, eventually getting together with bouzouki player Michael Holmes and mandola player Brian McDonagh.

The group released an instrumental album titled The Boys of Sligo in 1988, and shortly thereafter Cathy Jordan came on board as the group's vocalist. The addition of fiddler Shane McAlear set the group up for release of its first album, Harmony Hill, in 1992.

Fame, fortune, and folk festivals quickly followed, as critical acclaim hounded the group into the corner of stardom. Having released one live and four studio albums since 1992, the group is regarded as at or near the top of the Irish traditional music gene-pool.

Dervish's 2001 release, Midsummer's Night (Compass), begins with the album's title track, a jaunty little reel where Mitchell's squeezebox and McAlear's strings double each other in one ear, and what sounds like the mandola takes up the left channel. On track 2, the traditional "Shea Bhain," Jordan enters the fray, her syrupy and constantly oscillating vocals providing inflections and phrasing which almost teleport one back to long lost realms (or at least long lost realms that we've been privileged to receive from Hollywood).

The traditional tune, "The Banks of Sweet Vildee" is another chance to hear Jordan in splendid action. It's a tune that fits into what is stereotypically called traditional Irish music– a slower 2/4 number where the vocalist's accent is placed at the forefront ("She dressed her bebe all net and clean").

Making traditional Irish music entertaining is not an easy thing– but with a number of original tunes and with the energy and virtuosity necessary to make the old new, Dervish is something to see.

Dervish at PVCC's V. Earl Dickinson Building, March 13. $18/$15 seniors and students, 7:30pm.